Dennis Joseph Collins

COLLINS, Dennis Joseph

2nd Word War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Windsor - Ontario
Regimental Number
Date of Death
Age at Death
22 years 2 months
Biographical Summary

NAME                               COLLINS           Dennis Joseph.
RANK                               Craftsman          55472                                                                                                                                               1st Canadian Army - II Canadian Corps - 6th Infantry Brigade                              SERVICE BRANCH         No. 6 Light Aid Detachment                                                                                                                                         Royal Canadian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers
                                         “by skill and by fighting”                                                                                              Born                                 July 15, 1922 - Dashwood - Hay/Stephen Townships - County of Huron          Residence                        Windsor - Ontario                                                                                                        Died                                  September 23, 1944           22 years   2 months
Cemetery                         Calais Canadian War Cemetery - Leugringhen - Pas-de-Calais - France
                                         7 E 10
Mother                              Mrs. Ellen Collins - Windsor, Ontario / Highland Park in Michigan, USA

Dennis was born on July 15, 1922 in Dashwood and as he grew up he enjoyed fishing, skating and softball. He attended public school from 1927-36. Following his schooling he had farmed/ for a short time, was employed as by Albemy Janisse Funeral Directors and then prior to his enlistment he was an ambulance driver. The family was Roman Catholic and would have attended Mount Carmel Catholic Church. 

Canada                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         He enlisted into the Canadian Army in Windsor on July 21, 1941 with the rank of Private  At that time we was 5' 11" and weighed 160 pounds. He had a fair complexion with light blue eyes and light brown hair. At that time he was posted to No. 1A District Depot in Windsor and a week later he was assigned to to No. 1 District Depot in London and at month end he was posted to No. 12 Canadian Army Basic Training Centre in Chatham - Ontario. Then in early October he was sent back to No. 1A  District Depot in Windsor to attend trade school. On December 5 he was posted to No. 11 Advanced Driving and Maintenance School in Woodstock - Ontario.  Private Collins transferred to the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps on January 14, 1942. A little more than a week later he was posted to No. 21 Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps Training Centre based at Barriefield - Ontario. On March 21 he was assigned to the Anderson Mechanical Training Centre in London. On October 17 he was classified as a Grade II Motor Mechanic. In the second half of October he received furlough and during December he received Christmas Leave.  Private Collins on January 8, 1943 qualified as an Aero Engineer Mechanic Group A Grade III by the Anderson Mechanical Training Centre.                                                            As of February 1, 1943 he was a qualified fitter of motor vehicles Group B. Grade II as per Anderson Mechanical Training Centre. On February 11 he was again posted to No. 21 Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps Training Centre in Barriefield. During April Private Collins received Leave plus Embarkation Leave. On April 28 he was posted to No. 2 Transit Camp in Owen Sound - Ontario. His next movement was to Nova Scotia in preparation for going overseas.


On June 10 Private Collins is Struck off Service of the Canadian Army in Canada and that same day he embarks from Canada for overseas. The following day he is Taken on Service with the Canadian Army overseas. He then disembarks in the United Kingdom on June 19. The same day he reports to No. 1 Canadian Ordnance Reinforcement Unit. As of July 25, 1943 he had passed Test of Elementary Training on the Rifle, Bren, Light machine gun and anti tank rifle. On October 5, 1943 he qualified as a Driver I.C. of wheeled vehicles                On March 16, 1944 qualified as a fitter Group "C". Then on May 15 he transfers to the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers with the rank of Craftsman.

In the Field

Craftsman Collins embarked from the United Kingdom on July 10 and he disembarked onto French soil on    July 12. He fought at St. Andre-sur-Orne, Verrieres Ridge, Falaise Pocket, Falaise Road, Operation Tractable, Foret de la Londe, and into Dieppe.                                                                                                                  Craftsman Collins was part of No. 6 Light Aid Detachment and their responsibility was to recover and repair knocked out tanks, guns, trucks etc. Those vehicles that were not repairable there at the scene were then loaded onto trucks and taken back to the Brigade workshop. In many cases, before work could begin on some recovered vehicles the bodies still in them had to be removed.
It is believed that Craftsman Collins was part of such a unit and as he performed his duties he was killed on
the outskirts of Graveline in France.                                                                                                                            On September 23 the weather was cool with showers. The road to Gravelines was 40 miles and the road winding through the high hills and then descended to the flat canalized land east of Calais. The Toronto Scottish had been relieved by 11 am. Headquarters had just moved into a large sawmill along the canal 100 yards south of the railway. "A" Company was shelled just after entering the sawmill and it was during this shelling when Craftsman Collins was killed. He was originally buried on the outskirts of Gravelines in a field north of the wall on the west side of the road from St. Foliquin to Gravelines. 
In January of 1945 his mother Ellen received the Memorial Cross and in November of 1949 the family received the medals awarded to Dennis which were the 1939-45 Star, The France-Germany Star, the Defence and War Medals along with the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with clasp.

Dennis is honoured and remembered on the Memorial Plaque of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, on the Exeter Cenotaph, in the Books of Remembrance in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and on the Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Engineers Memorial at Camp Borden.